My favorite way to start a commission is to meet the subject, whether it's a person or an animal. I frequently go to meet the pet, or have a visit to my studio. I was unable to meet Gus, but was able to meet with Gus's owner's wife. She provided a photograph I was able to work from.
Gus's owner received the painting for Christmas. He wrote to me, "You have done a terrific job of capturing his soul and spirit. Now Gus is immortal!"